ISLAMABAD: Representation and inclusivity were the recurrent themes for movies which released in 2018.
With mega successes such as ‘Black Panther’ which featured an almost all-black cast and ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ which starred an all-Asian cast, the films ensured that we were treated to storylines which we don't get to experience in our day-to-day lives.
The trend continues in 2019 with filmmakers leaving us spoilt for choice. Here is a list of movies that seem to be worth the watch:
Let's begin with a film that is closer to our hearts and our homes.
‘The Legend of Maula Jatt’ is expected to be one of the biggest headliners in Pakistan. A story based on a Punjabi fable, it stars an all Pakistani cast, and is written, directed, and produced on Pakistani soil. While the original was released in 1979, next year's edition seems to be a delight for the senses with the official trailer having amassed more than 400,000 views since being released recently.
Disney has a handful of live action films hitting the big screens next year, one of which is ‘Aladdin.’ The beloved cartoon of the 90s was the obvious choice in the line of films to be remade with a live action treatment following a series of successful ventures from the franchise. The story of Aladdin --- which was adapted from ‘1001 Nights’ -- will see several actors of color (primarily from Middle Eastern and North African countries) essaying the roles of Jasmine, Aladdin, the Sultan, and Jafar, to name a few. The film was and continues to the only Disney story where the characters are from/inspired by the Middle East.
Another Disney film that’s coming to animated life is ‘The Lion King.’ Set in Africa, it was only fitting that the live action film would see actors of colour lend their voices for the project, while the music too pays an ode to the culture of the region. Donald Glover, Beyonce, James Earl Jones, Alfrede Woodward, and Chiwetel Ejiofer are just some of the talents lending their voices; with Glover playing the role of the future king, Simba.
Easily one of the most anticipated films coming out of the Marvel franchise's stables, Captain Marvel’ will (finally) be releasing in March. One reason for the timing of the film's release could be because of the summer release of ‘Avengers: End Game’. Captain Marvel, who happens to be a woman, is perhaps the most powerful hero Marvel has created. Following 2017’s ‘Wonder Woman,’ it will now be the second film which focusses on the story of a woman superhero.
Speaking of ‘Wonder Woman,’ the sequel, ‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ is releasing next year too. The first film was a box office mega success, smashing records and breaking down barriers that had kept films with women in lead roles away from the big screens. The first edition was directed by a woman director, Patty Jenkins, who is also taking the helm for the sequel.
‘Spider Man: Far From Home’ the sequel to ‘Spider Man: Homecoming’ releases two months after Avengers 4 in July. ‘Homecoming’ starred not one, not two, but three actors of colour in significant roles --- namely Zendaya and Laura Herrier who played MJ and Liz, while Jacob Battalion an actor of Filipino descent played Peter Parker’s best friend, Ned. The film was also one of the most inclusive films to be released from the Marvel universe with a number of background actors representing diverse backgrounds. The trailer is yet to release and is mostly likely to be posted closer to date.
With a few more dollops of actors of colour and featuring female Jedis and commanders of armies (both bad and good) ’Star Wars Episode IX’ which will continue to go further into the plot and stories set up in ‘Episode VIII’ releases next year as well. The Star Wars revival which kicked off with ‘Episode VII: The Force Awakens’ introduced black storm troopers, asian characters who save the day and women leaders steering the ship.
Last, but not the least is 'Frozen 2’ which promises to thaw your senses, following the first installment's tremendous genre altering success in 2013. ‘Frozen’ told the tale of two sisters and their love story -- a big break from the traditional damsel in distress approach most princess stories are subjected to. Though much has not been said about the sequel which will hit films in November of next year, it’s safe to say that they will continue to break the mould and redefine Disney’s princess films.